Sunday, March 6, 2011

A is for Apple!

Originally posted 10/20/10

“The girl is crafty like ice is cold.”-Beastie Boys, 1986

Feelin’ crafty?  I am.

A couple of weeks ago, I packed the kids up in the car, and met my mom and sister in Apple Hill.  Apple Hill is a region near Placerville, California.  It is apple orchards and farms, as far as the eye can see.  You can pick apples, drink cider, buy pumpkins, ride ponies and eat every apple treat imaginable.  You basically eat your way from farm to farm.  It is a beautiful area and definitely worth a visit in the fall.  But I warn you, stay away from the alpacas.  Far, far away.  They spit.  I should know……

Anyway, I came home with more apples then any family could ever eat.  So I thought, either I hand these out on Halloween and become the house that gets egged every year, or I get to craftin’.  The fam and I had recently been to a gigantic craft fair near our town called the Candy Dance.  It is a huge, yearly event in Genoa, NV.  One of the craft booths was selling dried apple “swags”, or “pretty wall hangy things” as I called them, for about $30 a piece.  When I saw them, I thought…..” I can make that for waaaaaay cheaper.”  So I did.  I figured out how to dry apples, and I even threw in some dried oranges and cinnamon sticks for good measure.  The end result is really pretty, and it smells even better then it looks.  I will show you how to make your very own by walking you through the steps.  It really is a perfect fall decoration.  Great for gift giving too!

I started with about 3 red apples, 2 green apples and 2 oranges. 

I sliced the fruit about ¼ to ½ an inch thick.  After the fruit is sliced, put it in a big bowl filled with ¼ cup salt, ¼ cup lemon juice and water.  Let the fruit soak for about 20 minutes.  In the meantime, preheat your oven to its lowest setting, which is probably between 150 to 170 degrees.
After the fruit has bathed in its salty bath, lay it out on towels and blot it dry….gently.  Lay the fruit out on baking sheets that have been sprayed with cooking spray….these babies stick!
Sprinkle the fruit with cinnamon.  You could also use ginger, nutmeg, cloves….go crazy.  I really just like the smell of cinnamon.  I am a simple gal.

Bake the fruit for about 5 to 6 hours.  It will look dry and leathery when it is done.  It will continue to dry after it comes out of the oven…..so don’t go crazy with the oven time.  Apple crackers won’t work for this.

I can’t even begin to describe to you how fantastic your house will smell while the fruit dries/bakes.  It will smell like you have been baking apple pies for weeks.  This is the time to invite your neighbors over.  They will think you are Betty Crocker.  But then they might be angry when you don’t offer them pie…..
Now comes the best part, you get to string your fruit.  You will need an embroidery needle to poke through the middle of the fruit as it has become leathery in the oven.  Tie whatever ribbon you want to use to the needle and start stringing.  I made a pattern of red apples, oranges, green apples and then cinnamon sticks.  I ran the needle through the center of the fruit, and tied knots around the sticks.  Keep going until you run out of fruit.  Tie a knot at the bottom and maybe even tie on some fancy ribbon. 
Ta-da, so fancy!  You have made your very own fall decoration.  It will look so pretty hanging in your house!  The cinnamon smell will last throughout the season too.

And now…..giveaway time!  Do you think the one I made is pretty?  Want to win it?  Tell me, in the comment section below, what Johnny Appleseed’s real name is.  I will pick a random winner from all that answer correctly.  If you win, I will send you the one I made……Good luck!!


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